A Labour exec calls for Tom Watson to ‘consider his position’ after he attacks a colleague undergoing chemo

Tom Watson
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Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) member Claudia Webbe joined calls for Tom Watson to ‘consider his position’ as deputy leader after he publicly trashed his colleague and Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, who’s undergoing chemotherapy.


“Publicly attacking me” while I’m “unable to respond in the media”

The deputy leader attacked Formby, suggesting that under her remit:

Read on...

antisemitism is tolerated and allowed to grow. [Panorama] depicted a party with structures completely unfit to deal with the scale of the problem.

A BBC Panorama episode entitled Is Labour Antisemitic? aired on 10 July. The programme pushed what’s predominantly a smear campaign to new heights. One striking part was the BBC selectively editing an internal Labour email and then broadcasting the result.

In a responding letter, Formby chastised Watson, saying:

traducing my reputation and publicly attacking me when you know I am undergoing chemotherapy and am unable to respond in the media, is another example of the inappropriate way in which you choose to discuss this issue.

Watson also suggested Formby:

deleted emails relating to cases of antisemitism and asked for cases to be sent to your Unite email address. I am concerned about this given you have previously reassured me, in the attached correspondence, that all data relating to antisemitism would be preserved.

But she responded:

This is not the case. Labour email addresses are copied into the particular email chain so the emails are fully searchable through our internal subject request searches. Therefore nothing is destroyed or hidden.

“We must deal with the facts”

Formby continued:

I know it is a real problem in the Labour Party. Like you I have seen it first hand. But we must deal with the facts. Antisemitism-related cases that have been taken through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 relate to roughly 0.06% of the Party’s average membership during this time. Since I started as General Secretary, the speed of processing of antisemitism cases has increased by more than four-fold.

By choosing to ignore the steps taken by this party, and commenting so uncritically about the Panorama programme, you are complicit in creating a perception that antisemitism is more prevalent in the Labour Party than wider society. This is deeply irresponsible for the deputy leader of a party which seeks to be in Government, and risks exacerbating the fear that Jewish communities will feel.

A YouGov poll found the following results in 2017:

“Absolutely disgusting”

On social media, Watson faced widespread criticism:

Watson has seemingly spent his entire time as deputy leader trying to destroy Labour from within. Now he is publicly smearing Formby while she undergoes cancer treatment. And many people clearly feel he should step down from his post before the next general election.

Featured image via Guardian News/ YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. If someone is receiving chemo and as a consequence, are too ill to do their job, they should go on sick leave and focus on their recovery. If they are well enough to do the job, whilst on chemo, they shouldn’t use the treatment as a way of avoiding criticism.

      1. Wasn’t it Luciana Berger who whined about being pregnant in order to claim that a vote of no confidence in her by her CLP amounted to bullying? The media was awash with outrage that a CLP could exercise their democratic right to express a lack of confidence in this woman whilst she was pregnant: “Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has called for the local party to be suspended. Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, he said the MP was “being bullied”. According to Watson, withdrawing support for Berger through the democratic process set up to select candidates to represent the party is tantamount to bullying.

        Rank hypocrisy aside, Tom Watson abuses the memory of the victims of anti-semitism in order to smear thoroughly decent people for his own political advancement, which is depraved, and about as low as it gets. The man is a moral degenerate.

    2. I’m sure that Deputy Leader is in Watson’s job description somewhere. In the old west wasn’t the Deputy’s job to take a bullet for the Sheriff…not shoot the Sheriff? I can’t recall on one occasion in the last 3 years Watson supporting Corbyn or the Party. Following the BBC’s recent documentary aka the case for the procescution Watson was appalled…what he should have been was supporting the party line. However, targetting Jennie Formby may prove to be his undoing.

    3. Has anyne else heard that Watson had organized a training day for MPs wishing to avoid deslection? Apparently MPs have been advised to encourage organizations to affiliate to Labour CLPs. Suddenly, CLPs without Jewish members are affiliated to the anti-Corbyn JLM (Jewish Labour Movement). This gives the JLM a veto over a trigger ballots…so you can guess where it’s going. I have also heard that some of the afiliates are “fronts” for other organizations. Who these “fronts” are operating on behalf of I don’t know but perhaps the journalists at Canary may be able to find out.

    4. Watson should be deselected along with many others, like Lisa Nandy, the MP I saw on Peston a few hours ago, as just one example. Also Peter Hain and Peston himself were disgracefully biased and deceitful discussing the Labour alleged antisemitism issue too.

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